Maker’s Intentions Model
Feminist philosophers such as Rae Langton hold that pornography is about the illocutionary subordination and silencing of women, but philosophers of art claim pornography is about sexual arousal: sexually arousing its audiences is its central intent. This chapter finds both positions to be unsatisfying and holds that there is a question we must tackle before making such claims: what makes something a pornographic artifact? After all, the term ‘pornography’ does not pick out some abstract entity, but a huge array of artifacts. Proper understanding of pornography’s ethics and aesthetics should reflect this fact, and so the chapter aims to understand pornography’s artifactual nature by developing a maker’s intentions model of pornography. This model draws on Amie Thomasson’s account of what individuates noninstitutional ordinary objects. The chapter argues that this understanding of pornography can overcome some persistent feminist worries about what pornography amounts to and what sort of knowledge (if any) it involves.
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